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Politics & Government

Road Work Beginning-3,157 Crashes Last Year In Work Zones

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Two major road construction projects are getting underway in Rhinelander this month and at the same time the state has declared this Work Zone Awareness week.

The city is beginning a three-year project to reconstruct Stevens Street, or Highway 17, from the downtown north. The state is also beginning to construct a roundabout at the Business Highway 8 and state 47 intersection on the city's far west side.

When the work is proceeding, Department of Transportation spokesperson Rob Miller says motorists must be careful when they see the orange construction barrels...

"..Traffic is often slowing as you approach a work zone. We have real problems in work zones with rear-end crashes. We just need motorists to be aware that as you approach a work zone you just need to slow down..."

He says the lanes could shift, the pavement could be uneven or narrow, and he says the construction workers are only feet away from moving traffic. Miller outlines the large number of traffic crashes in Wisconsin last construction season...

"Last year in Wisconsin there were 3, 157 crashes in Wisconsin work zones. We had over 1,200 people injured and tragically 9 people lost their lives in work zone crashes. No of them were workers..."

Miller says it is against state law to be on your hand-held electronic device while traveling through a work zone. If you're caught with the device to your ear in the work zone, it could cost you $163 dollars, and four demerit points.